The Art of Admonishment

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of discipling another believer is admonishment. A proper understanding of biblical admonishment, however, can raise our comfort level and benefit both discipler and disciple.

Admonishment isn't a license to boss someone around or confront angrily. Godly admonishment is gentle and motivated by a desire to prevent sin. It keeps the other person's interests uppermost. It communicates love. Colossians 3:16 further describes and effective admonisher. He is well grounded in the Word of God, which makes him wise. His attitude is one of overflowing gratitude to God. Gratitude implies a proper sense of humility — "all that I am and all that I have is by the grace of God."

The following are some suggestions for delivering admonishment tempered with encouragement.

  • The Big Question. Once you've listened attentively to the person's side, redirect him or her to God's truth by asking a pointed question: "If what you say is true, what about … ?" "I understand how you felt, but doesn't the Bible say … ?"

  • Faith Builders. Remind the person you're discipling how far God has brought her. If she's dealing with a stubborn sin, for example, help her recall past victories that God has accomplished in her life.

  • Seasoned Words. Share a verse that helped you in a similar situation. Briefly describe your struggle, and then tell her how God conveyed His power to you.

  • Humble Pie. If you've been behaving in a way you now feel convicted about, acknowledge your sin to the person you're discipling. Your life should model repentance and confession.

  • Portrait of Hope. Paint a verbal picture of what life will be like once he overcomes this problem. Describe his increased spiritual muscle. Help him see his potential.

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